Right-handed pitcher and former All-Star Marcus Stroman opted out of this year’s MLB season. This obviously represented a major blow to the New York Mets’ hopes in 2020. While Stroman will forgo the remainder of his $12MM salary, it isn’t as if there’s an obvious way for the team to reinvest it for a player of similar quality — at least, not without giving up substantial prospect value via trade.
The decision of opting-out puts a bow on the Mets’ end of last summer’s trade that brought Stroman to Queens. Adding him cost two promising young starters: Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson. Stroman didn’t have the best of impacts when he came to New York in 2019, and of course, in 2020, he had no impact as he pitched zero games.
Bring Him Back or Let Him Walk For Stroman: Let Him Walk
Based on numerous reasons, the Mets’ best option is to not resign Marcus Stroman. Called up to fill Stroman’s rotation spot, David Peterson debuted during a short season. He had not pitched above Double-A before that, but in a shortened season with expanded rosters, many players around baseball received unexpected opportunities.
Ever since Peterson’s debut, he has been one of the best rookie pitchers. Over 10 games (nine starts), he pitched to a 3.44 ERA. In his penultimate start of the regular season, Peterson struck out a career-high 10 batters against the NL East-leading Braves. In his final start, he went a career-high seven innings and threw a career-high 107 pitches. With Peterson’s amazing 2020, he figures to have that 5th spot in the rotation, so why need Stroman?
The Mets will enter the 2021 season with a rotation, that figures to exclude Stroman. The Mets will have Noah Syndergaard back after he missed this whole season with Tommy John. They will of course also have 2-time Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom, the best pitcher in the game of baseball.
Let’s not forget about Seth Lugo, who can take part in the Mets rotation or bullpen, and Steven Matz, who is coming off his worst year. Steven Matz may get non-tendered, but the Mets will probably give him another shot, especially if they do not re-sign Stroman. Who they may not have back is Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha, as they are also free agents like Stroman.
Free Agents That The Mets Could Consider
Signing Marcus Stroman will take away money that can be used to sign a much better pitcher like Trevor Bauer, but also sign a top catcher such as J.T. Realmuto. The Mets do have a new owner in Steve Cohen, who brings in tons of money, but re-signing Stroman still wipes out a Trevor Bauer or Realmuto signing.
The Mets would rather go after someone such as James Paxton, or even Jake Odorizzi, rather than Stroman. There are of course position players that the Mets could also consider such as Marcell Ozuna, Tommy La Stella, George Springer, Marcus Semien, and others.